History of Art 2

Janson, H. W. History of Art: Volume II. New York: Prentice Hall, 1995. 5th ed. Janson's book explores the last five hundred years of art. As such, his attempt is necessarily sparse when it comes to any individual artist, and any aficionado will be depressed at how little (or how much) room he provides to any individual artist. That said, Janson's is a fine presentation of the artistic sentiment. His thesis, if such an overview can be said to have a thesis, is the continuity of the artistic tradition. Janson takes great pains to make connections between works of art, showing the artist's influences. He discusses overarching historical trends, even as he demonstrates that the concept of artistic periods is sometimes imposed for the sake of convenience. While its title "History of Art" is quite inclusive, this work truly only covers European and American painting, sculpture, architecture and photography. Nevertheless, Janson takes pains to point out female artists, and he gives the briefest of nods to how African art had an influence on some of the 20th Century's greatest painters. And while it's clear who Janson's favorites are, he treats all the artists covered with respect.